Liverpool star Alisson to miss Super Cup clash with Chelsea

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah vies with Norwich City’s Jamal Lewis during Friday’s English Premier League match. (Reuters)
Updated 11 August 2019

Liverpool star Alisson to miss Super Cup clash with Chelsea

  • Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick fires Manchester City to West Ham rout

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool could be without inspirational goalkeeper Alisson Becker for a number of weeks after the Brazilian suffered a calf injury in Friday’s 4-1 thrashing of Norwich to kick off the Premier League season in style.

The European champions are aiming to end a 30-year wait to win the Premier League after missing out by only one point to Manchester City last season and laid down an early marker in the title race by racing into a 4-0 lead before half-time.

Norwich captain Grant Hanley's hapless own goal just seven minutes in set the tone for what could be a long season for the Canaries before Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi netted as Liverpool shot out of the blocks.

However, the Reds’ joy was curtailed when Alisson pulled up after kicking the ball clear from a routine goal kick and needed support to limp off the field.

“Nothing bad to say about the game apart from Ali's injury,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who confirmed his No. 1 will miss Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup clash with Chelsea in Istanbul.

“We have to see how serious it is and deal with it.”

Alisson kept 20 clean sheets in his first Premier League season and was also instrumental in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph.

Spanish goalkeeper Adrian only joined Liverpool this week on a free transfer after Simon Mignolet departed to join Club Brugge.

But the former West Ham stopper could now have a huge role to play in the coming weeks to ensure Klopp’s men cede no early ground in the title race to City with tricky matches against Southampton and Arsenal to come.

Friday’s game was already won before Alisson departed as from Origi’s low cross, Hanley’s wild hack at a clearance flashed beyond Tim Krul in the Norwich goal.

A Golden Boot winner in each of the past two seasons, Salah then opened his account for the season with a calm finish from Roberto Firmino’s pass on 19 minutes.

Despite a comfortable lead, Klopp was soon ranting at his players for letting their guard down as only a brilliant save from Alisson prevented Marco Stiepermann from halving Norwich’s deficit.

Seconds later and it was 3-0 as Norwich’s dreadful defending was exposed again to leave Van Dijk free to head home from a Salah corner.

West Ham loss

Manchester City made a flying start to their Premier League title defense as Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick inspired a 5-0 demolition of West Ham on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side, which racked up 98 points to beat Liverpool by a point last season, rarely looked like getting out of second gear with a measured performance at London’s Olympic Stadium.


Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

Updated 15 September 2019

Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

  • Tokyo is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games
  • Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games

TOKYO: The mayor of a town in northeastern Japan that will host Olympic soccer games says his city has received no funding from the central government that has promised to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to help in the reconstruction of the region.

The Japanese government and Tokyo 2020 organizers are hoping to use the Olympics to showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Several Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, will be held in northeastern Japan.

But with less than a year to go before the opening ceremony, Yutaka Kumagai, the mayor of Rifu in Miyagi Prefecture, says his city has seen no funding from the central government.

“There is no help from the government, we don’t have any budget from them, none,” Kumagai said on Saturday. “Tokyo 2020 is said to be a symbol of the reconstruction but when it comes to the budget, we don’t have any budget from the Olympic games here in Rifu.”

Kumagai made the comments during a media tour of Miyagi Stadium, a 49,000-seat facility in Rifu that will host men’s and women’s football at the 2020 Olympics.

About 50,000 people are still displaced in the Tohoku region as of August, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Yoshiaki Suda, the mayor of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, concurred with Kumagai. Like Rifu, Onagawa is a coastal city that sustained heavy destruction.

“We haven’t received any subsidy, even one yen, from the central government,” Suda said. “Whatever we do for the venues, for the hospitality for the Olympics, we have to do ourselves.”

Some media reports have made the claim that the Olympics have hampered the reconstruction efforts, taking workers away from the region to help with construction in Tokyo.

Japan is one of the most earthquake- and tsunami-prone areas in the world. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake offshore caused a tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The quake and tsunami heavily damaged coastal neighborhoods in northeastern Japan and took more than 18,000 lives.

Tokyo, which projected total costs of about $7.5 billion in its winning bid for the games in 2013, is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games.

A group of anti-Olympic activists, many from outside Japan, have held small protests and other events this summer under the Japanese title “Han-gorin no Kai” — which translates roughly to No Olympics. They oppose Olympic spending, which they say cuts into budgets for housing and environmental issues.

They also call for more money to rebuild Fukushima prefecture located northeast of Tokyo. Organizers say Fukushima is a main focus of the Olympics, staging baseball, softball and soccer games there to persuade the world the area is safe.

Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games. In August, Tokyo’s summer heat forced an Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to impact next year’s games.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, was forced to quit earlier this year when he was implicated in a vote-buying scheme to land the games. He has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged he signed off on about $2 million that French investigators allege went to buy votes.